Government Wants To Compel NHIF Members To Own Huduma Namba Cards For Identification


The Huduma Bill was proposed in 2019.

The bill, which we have covered here widely, proposes the issuance of Huduma Namba to Kenyans.

It was published in the Kenya Gazette in 2020.

The identifier is based on the nationwide database named NIIMS, and will also be tied to all government services, meaning a person cannot receive such services from the government without the Huduma Card.

“Every resident individual shall have a mandatory obligation to present Huduma Namba in order to be issued with a passport, apply for a driving license, register a mobile phone number, register as a voter, pay taxes, transact in the financial market, open a bank account, register a company or public benefit organization, transfer or make any dealings in land, register for power connection, access universal healthcare services, register a marriage…” reads part of the bill.

Following the registration exercise, and delayed issuance of Huduma Cards, the state started issuing them, first for Nairobi residents before the cards were dispatched to other parts of the country.

However, it should be remembered that more than 11 million Kenyans registered for Huduma Namba, and only 7.3 million of them have collected the document.

The plan is to have the Huduma Card replace ID documents in the near future.

Ties to NHIF

According to Business Daily, the state wants to compel NHIF so its members can access services via Huduma Namba Cards.

This will mean that millions of Kenyans might be locked out of the service.

NHIF has more than 13 million members, alongside 26 million dependents.

However, only 5.6 million of them have the Huduma Namba document.

“Making NIIMS authenticator at the first instance of functional data will restrict access to quality and timely healthcare to beneficiaries and may ultimately hinder the realization of UHC,” NHIF had told legislators.

KRA Pin Replacement

Parliament has since introduced the Huduma Bill 2021 Amendment to rectify some issues that have been raised by the public and stakeholders.

For instance, the Bill now seeks to issue Huduma Namba to newborns. This, the proposal argues, is for tax reasons (the proposal wants newborns to be enrolled in the biometric identification system so that the state can identify them when they turn 18. It will also see them file returns irrespective of their earnings status).

Lastly, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa alongside Civil Society Organizations, has since submitted a joint memorandum to Parliament that will ensure the Huduma Bill promotes the full realization of access to legal identity, the right to privacy, and data protection.